Cross training is where you train one or more of your employees to do carry out other roles within your organisation. This is good for managers as it offers more flexibility when it comes to managing a workforce in order to get a job done. It is good for your employees because it teaches them new skills and increases the value that they hold within a firm and also helps combat the fatigue they might feel from always doing the same thing.
The beauty of cross-training is that it can be used in almost any industry and any role. In those companies where employees are frequently in contact with customers this can help to ensure that employees have more empathy for the customers they deal with, for example, cashiers and customer service representatives can learn something from each other’s roles that will help in their own. Those firms focused on technology often require employees to be certified in a wide range of skills and offer benefits and bonuses to those who are continually updating their skillset.
The benefits of cross-training
When it comes to preparing your plans for cross-training remember the benefits for both employer and employee. Cross-training offers an employee the chance to learn a new skill that could make them more valuable both to you and another alternative employer. Learning new skills can reduce boredom in the workplace and help keep an individual stimulated. Some of the key benefits of cross-training are:
- Employee awareness of roles and functions in an organisation are improved
- There is increased scheduling flexibility available
- Employee advancement opportunities are increased
- Your employees are more knowledgeable, and this can improve customer support
- Employees are more motivated
- There is a possibility of reducing employee turnover and absenteeism
- Managers are more easily able to assess employees across a number of roles
Where possible cross-training should be structured for job enrichment, this is a vertical expansion of the role and can include adding those tasks that might offer an employee more responsibility and control. This might, for example, mean training those who work in HR to support more than just benefits administration or payroll. This will offer you staff with a wider range of skills who can become more involved.
Rotation of jobs
When a manager has been exposed to all areas of an organisation, they work for they will have a better understanding of that business. For some companies, this ethos forms part of their training for new managers, working in every section and to every shift to better understand those who work for a company and just what their role entails in order to be the best manager possible.
Producing a cross-training program for your organisation
Each organisation works differently so it is important to create a program that best suits your own individual needs. Ask employees where they see the need for cross-training, identify those tasks and roles where cross-training would be beneficial. You could even offer incentives; as a leader, you know your company and employees best.